cover title author avg rating rating my rating review Down_arrow date read date added
Skippy Dies
I'm the product of an Irish Catholic boarding school for boys. In September 1968, at the tender age of 11, I left the warm (over-)protective bosom of...more
Sep 18, 2010
Sep 10, 2010
The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Initial review: 12/11/2008 -

I may revisit the 5-star rating in a week or two, but after reading this book through all last night in a single sitting,...more
Dec 11, 2008
Dec 11, 2008
Arguably: Selected Essays
OK, so if (like me) you start this collection with the notion that there was something iffy about this Hitchens bloke -- I mean how can one dude's stu...more
Feb 14, 2012
Feb 07, 2012
Limits of Language: Almost Everything You Didn't Know You Didn't Know about Language and Languages
"Limits of Language" arrived today from Amazon. I've never smoked crack, but reading this book approximates what I imagine it would feel like -- an in...more
Dec 04, 2008
Dec 04, 2008
Everything Explained Through Flowcharts: All of Life's Mysteries Unraveled Including Tips for World Domination, Which Religion Offers the Best Afterlife, the Secret Recipe for Gettin' Laid Lemonade
Like, omigod dudes and dudettes!!! This book is pants-crappingly awesome* .

Over the past few days the smart folks on GR have been engaged in an ongoi...more
Nov 03, 2010
Nov 03, 2010
At Swim-Two-Birds
Flann O'Brien is surely Ireland's most neglected writer. Though his talent was on a par with the genius of his contemporaries, Joyce and Beckett, he h...more
Mar 19, 2010
Jul 05, 2007
Winesburg, Ohio
If not for goodreads I might never have read this extraordinary book, despite its acknowledged status as a classic. But only a fool would ignore the r...more
Aug 24, 2010
Aug 22, 2010
Pure Pleasure: A Guide to the Twentieth Century's Most Enjoyable Books
Somewhere else on this site, and undoubtedly at several other locations on the web, there is that infamous list. You know the one.
The one that makes...more
not set
Jan 21, 2008
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work
Damn! This book just confirms my desire to have Alain de Botton as a friend. What a smart, erudite, witty, unassuming mensch this guy is. With a quirk...more
Jun 11, 2009
May 22, 2009
The Crow Road
Damn, this book was terrific! I don't know why I didn't stumble across it earlier, given it was published in 1992 and was adapted by the BBC as a mini...more
Jan 16, 2009
Dec 15, 2008
The Bookshop
If you asked me to choose a writer particularly skilled at illustrating the latent nastiness that lurks in small provincial towns, my first choice wou...more
Aug 24, 2010
Aug 22, 2010
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Before reading this book I was not a fan of Rebecca Solnit. Upon the insistent recommendation of several friends who rarely steer me wrong, a few year...more
Nov 27, 2010
Nov 27, 2010
Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1)
Yea! For once I actually agree with the Booker jury selection. This is an extraordinary book.

We all carry in our heads a certain view of Tudor England...more
Feb 07, 2012
Jan 18, 2010
Old Filth (Old Filth, #1)
I'm not sure why I love Jane Gardam's writing as much as I do. She bowls me over. I'm hoping that it's more than the fact that she writes about the ki...more
Oct 2007
Jul 08, 2007
The Imperfectionists
You may be wondering if "The Imperfectionists" deserves the rave reviews it's been getting in certain quarters. The short answer?
Yes, yes it does.

Jun 23, 2010
Jun 21, 2010
Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid
This slim collection (roughly 100 pages) of ten essays by Virgina Woolf, published as part of the "Penguin Great Ideas" series may be the best book I'...more
Nov 12, 2009
Nov 12, 2009
The Master and Margarita
Upgraded to 5 stars, January 6th 2008 - this was one of my top 5 books read in 2007.

Written in the 1930's, not published until the late 1960's, a quar...more
Dec 2007
Nov 29, 2007
Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam
Oh my God! This arrived from Amazon and I just couldn't stop reading it. It's hilarious, outrageous, informative, entertaining, and Pope Brock, despit...more
Nov 20, 2008
Nov 19, 2008
A Canticle for Leibowitz (St. Leibowitz, #1)
Sometimes you wonder, among the various apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novels out there, which will pass the test of time. I recently re-read Nevil...more
Aug 17, 2011
Aug 13, 2011
The People on Privilege Hill
I first discovered Jane Gardam a few years ago when I read her subtle, completely brilliant, account of the life of English barrister Eddie Feathers,...more
Mar 2010
Feb 26, 2010
Why Look at Animals?
It almost feels as if I'm abusing my "unexpectedly terrific" shelf these days, but this book, another in the Penguin "Great Ideas" series, which I dis...more
Nov 14, 2009
Nov 12, 2009
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
You have to feel sorry for Atul Gawande's siblings. No matter how brilliant their accomplishments, at any family gathering, we know who is going to be...more
Jan 24, 2010
Jan 24, 2010
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
You start MPLS with certain expectations -- quirky characters, English setting, unlikely but heartwarming romance, comedy of manners -- all the necess...more
Sep 05, 2010
Jun 21, 2010
The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession
Ever since I heard that the NYT had its own perfume critic, I've had a kind of love-hate relationship with Chandler:

"In Dior Homme, its perfumer, Oliv...more
Feb 22, 2008
Feb 12, 2008
There but for the
Ali Smith is one of those writers who is in constant danger of being too clever for her own good. This book follows a structure that is self-conscious...more
Jan 22, 2012
Feb 02, 2012
Mataburros: Lunfardo / English
Sometimes I'm ashamed at just how little it takes to bring me hours of delirious fun. This slim paperback volume, which I came across while looking fo...more
Sep 22, 2008
Aug 16, 2008
The Sparrow (The Sparrow, #1)
Upgraded my rating of this book to 5 stars (January 6th, 2008) because it was definitely one of the 5 best books I read in 2007. Thought-provoking and...more
Oct 2007
Oct 25, 2007
The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession
An awesome book. It took recommendations from several friends before I finally decided to give this book a try. The subject matter seemed so uninteres...more
not set
Aug 12, 2007
A Collection of Essays
Orwell writes so well you want to give him a standing ovation. This collection contains several classic essays -- "Shooting an Elephant", "Politics an...more
Nov 2008
Oct 31, 2008
Confessions of an English Opium Eater
After circling this book for years, I finally read it today. And it knocked my socks off. DeQuincey writes like an angel. Even in the less structured...more
Aug 02, 2008
Feb 15, 2008
Rss More books shelved as 'unexpectedly-terrific' »
« previous 1 3 4